Rudolf Steiner c. 1905 (Wikipedia​)

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The Threefold Order and Social Trust Capital and Credit by Rudolf Steiner - Audiobook

The Threefold Social Order by Rudolf Steiner - Audiobook

Threefold Social Order
and Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner's Threefold Social Order is the foundation of all Community Evolution Plans and provides the general structure and philosophical design of Hives. Below is a link to The Threefold Social Order by Rudolf Steiner audiobook from YouTube and a short description of Social Threefolding. 

Social Threefolding

The Threefold Social Order (Social Threefolding) is a social theory which originated in the early 20th century from the work of Rudolf Steiner. Of central importance is a distinction made between three spheres of society – the political, economic, and cultural. The conviction here is society is healthier when, as a modus vivendi, these spheres are independent of one another. This conviction is born from “the fact a sphere of life calls forth interests arising only within that sphere. Out of the economic sphere one can develop only economic interests. If one is called out of this sphere to produce legal judgements as well, then these will merely be economic interests in disguise.”. Social threefolding aims to foster:equality in political life, freedom in cultural life (art, science, religion, education, the media), and cooperation in economic life.


The Threefold Social Order was first proposed by Rudolf Steiner in the great cultural ferment immediately following the end of the First World War, the Interwar period. Steiner suggested the cooperative independence of these three societal realms, could be achieved through a gradual transformation of existing societal structures, nonetheless, it must happen at a “big scale” and a “clean sweep” of all ideology (specifically, the various political party programs) would be necessary. Steiner rejected all ideology, characterizing it as a restriction and imposition on what lives in people.

Instead, Steiner sought to create conditions whereby people themselves could act creatively within the economy (through associations, worker-owned and operated enterprises), within politics (through more participatory forms of direct democracy), and within culture (through the autonomy of teachers and other cultural workers). “All ideal programs are to be dismissed, all prescriptions are to be dismissed, everything is placed into the immediate impulse of the individual ability.” Cooperative economic life Steiner advocated cooperative forms of capitalism, or what might today be called stakeholder capitalism, because he thought that conventional shareholder capitalism and state socialism, though in different ways, tend to absorb the State and human rights into the economic process and transform laws into mere commodities. Steiner rejected state socialism because of that, but also because he believed it reduces the vitality of the economic process. Yet Steiner disagrees with the kind of libertarian view that holds that the State and the economy are kept apart when there is absolute economic competition. According to Steiner's view, under absolute competition, the most dominant economic forces tend to corrupt and take over the State, in that respect merging State and economy. Second, the State tends to fight back counter-productively under such circumstances by increasingly taking over the economy and merging with it, in a mostly doomed attempt to ameliorate the sense of injustice that emerges when special economic interests take over the State.

By contrast, Steiner held that uncoerced, freely self-organizing forms of cooperative economic life, in a society where there is freedom of speech, of culture, and of religion, will 1) make State intervention in the economy less necessary or called for, and 2) will tend to permit economic interests of a broader, more public-spirited sort to play a greater role in relations extending from the economy to the State. Those two changes would keep State and economy apart more than could absolute economic competition in which economic special interests corrupt the State and make it too often resemble a mere appendage of the economy. In Steiner's view, the latter corruption leads in turn to a pendulum swing in the opposite direction: government forces, sometimes with the best of intentions, seek to turn the economy increasingly into a mere appendage of the State. State and economy thus merge through an endless iteration of pendulum swings from one to the other, increasingly becoming corrupt appendages of each other.

Steiner held that State and economy, given increased separateness through a self-organizing and voluntarily more cooperative economic life, can increasingly check, balance, and correct each other for the sake of continual human progress. In Steiner's view, the place of the State, vis-a-vis the self-organizing, cooperative economy, is not to own the economy or run it, but to regulate/deregulate it, enforce laws, and protect human rights as determined by the state's open democratic process. Steiner emphasized that none of these proposals would be successful unless the cultural sphere of society maintained and increased its own freedom and autonomy vis-a-vis economic and State power. Nothing would work without spiritual, cultural, and educational freedom.

For the full article with references go to Wikipedia:

Rudolf Steiner Social Threefolding